One of the biggest lies being told by the likes of SeaWorld and others in the dolphin abusement park industry is that dolphins in captivity can never be released back into the wild.” ~ Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project
Sampal, one of five bottlenose dolphins rehabilitated for release off the South Korean island of Jeju is living proof that this is a blatant lie to justify keeping these sentient mammals imprisoned for profit.
And now she is a mother.
According to a report from Yonhap News Agency, dated 4/18/2016, a team from the Dolphin Research Group of Jeju University/Ewha Womans University confirmed that Sampal has successfully given birth, noting that strict criteria has proven the pair to be mother and calf.
Sampal was among five captive dolphins caught and sold illegally to aquariums in the country between 2009 and 2010. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled to release them back to the wild as a result of years of campaigning by local animal welfare groups. Ric O’Barry was in South Korea supervising the rehabilitation program for three of the five dolphins in 2013, including Sampal, Jedol and Chunsam. Dolphin Project’s Protocol for Releasing Captive Dolphins was used for rehabilitating the dolphins.
Says O’Barry, “This is not to say that all captive dolphins can or should be returned to their natural homes. But all captive dolphins may be re-adapted to a more natural environment.”
And in such an environment, amidst the currents of the sea with the sun and sky overhead, we wish Sampal and her baby a long and happy life. May the pair serve as ambassadors, setting a path for other previously-captive dolphins to return home.